MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. – The Westlake High School football team opens its season Friday night at Overlook Park in Poughkeepsie against Our Lady of Lourdes.
The Wildcats (3-6 last season) enter the season with a bevy of experience in some areas and a dearth of experience in others. Senior lineman Tommy Hopkins, who will play at UConn next year, anchors Westlake’s offensive and defensive lines, but new junior quarterback Michael Ragusa will have to fill the shoes of a three-year starter.
Ragusa does not back down from the challenge.
“I expect to bring them to a section title,” Ragusa said after practice in late August. “And I expect to step up because they’re expecting a lot of me, because there’s a lot of seniors. So I’m expecting to do my best.”
In fact, the Wildcats return 18 seniors this year, including six who were on the team that made the section finals in 2010. Head coach Rich Hennessy said he hopes that group will provide veteran leadership throughout the season.
The Wildcats’ opponent from Poughkeepsie finished 6-3 last year and soundly defeated Westlake, 35-19, on Sept. 17 last season. Our Lady of Lourdes eventually reached the Section 1 Class B finals. The Warriors have a chance to finish at the top of Class B this season, so Westlake will undoubtedly be in for a fight on Friday.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m.